The Ninth Day of Christmas – Nine Ladies Dancing

From a greetings card sold on Redbubble and designed by Lexa Strong (

Dear Readers, for my Mum and Dad’s generation, dancing was something that everybody did. My Mum and Dad only had to hear the first few bars of ‘Rock Around the Clock’ on the radio to start jiving around the kitchen, Mum twirling around, Dad whistling along (tunelessly as always). They were always the first onto the dancefloor, and if Dad got tired, Mum would find someone else’s boyfriend to take up the slack. No wonder she was always so thin! She could dance all night and still be fresh as a daisy in the morning. Have a look at Bill Hailey and the Comets in action and see if you can stop your toes from tapping….

But then Dad, in one of those strange quirks of history, discovered reggae. Years later he would spend time as a gin distiller in Jamaica, but he must have heard this song on the radio a good decade earlier. Dave and Ansell Collins would be his dance music of choice for years, although it was more of a solo pursuit – I would catch him moving around the living room in a strange shuffle, clicking his fingers and nodding his head, but only if  he thought he was on his own. Here, for your delectation, is ‘Double Barrel‘ . I’m pretty sure that this is more of a shoulder-gyrater than a toe-tapper. See what you think.

I think Mum thought that she’d be able to dance forever, and she was certainly still jumping up for a dance into her early seventies. But  gradually, the peripheral neuropathy in her feet and the scoliosis in her back, coupled with Dad’s bursitis and his increasing dementia, meant that their dancing days were done. It was one of the great sadnesses of Mum’s life that she never had a chance to give line dancing a go. At the start of a brand new year, it really does strike me that if we want to try something new, we shouldn’t keep putting it off, difficult as it is what with Covid putting the kibosh on so many things. On the other hand, how wonderful that Mum was still interested in trying new things and ready to learn even after her physical faculties were gone. How sad it would be to finish our lives with absolutely everything done and dusted, with no more hopes or plans.

Mum aged about 16

Well, that’s the dancing done. But how about the Ladies bit? It won’t surprise you to learn that there are more vernacular names for plants including the word ‘Lady’ or ‘Ladies’ than for any other word. You could make up an entire wardrobe out of the words for clothes alone. So let’s do that! See if you can match the name to the photo of the plant. I’ve included the Latin name just to help you out (a bit).


  1. Ladies Bonnets
  2. Lady’s Smock
  3. Lady’s Lockets
  4. Lady’s Slipper
  5. Lady’s Mantle
  6. Lady’s Tresses (ok, so not really an item of clothing, but definitely important for a lady).
Photo A by Eric Hunt, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

A) Polygonatum biflorum

Photo B by By Ivar Leidus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 ee,

B) Aquilegia vulgaris

Photo C by Björn S..., CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

C) Spiranthes spiralis

Photo D by Trish Steel, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

D) Alchemilla vulgaris

Photo E by Tim Green, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

E) Cardamine pratensis

Photo F by CC BY-SA 3.0,

F) Cypripedium calceolus

Photo Credits

Photo A by Eric Hunt, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo B by Ivar Leidus – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 ee,

Photo C by Björn S…, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo D by Trish Steel, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo E by Tim Green, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo F has no attribution information –  CC BY-SA 3.0,

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